A grateful heart? Sounds easy enough.

Trigger warning: Grief and Loss and maybe an F-bomb!

Hello lovely Newsletter Family.

I apologise for not writing to you sooner.  The last few weeks have been ‘thought stunting’ for some reason. Don’t like that much. Working on training my brain out of it. I did manage a little writing but it’s very raw so I’ll sit on it for a bit before sharing.

Your beautiful responses from my last letter are so appreciated.  I really was moved beyond words, literally.

Here’s today’s thoughts. Another letter to Doug.  I hope by sharing it helps you feel not so alone in some way. 

Big love.

The washing machine had a hissy fit in the garage/laundry and spewed water everywhere. You’d be pleased to know it forced me to move a heap of paraphernalia so I could mop up the mess. Boxes and junk you know I’ve been putting off diving into since we moved here. 

You hated all the ‘stuff’ in the garage more than I did, and that’s saying something.  The gear we accumulate over a lifetime, ugh! So overwhelming. Your ghost better not have tinkered with those pipes and machine to force me into dealing with all that junk Doug… I’ll be bloody cross!!!

While I’m cursing you, let’s have a little chat about the grass in the backyard, shall we?

Whatever possessed you to insist on laying Sir Walter Buffalo Turf? Crikey Doug, that stuff is like trying to push a lawn mower through mud! I apologise profusely to the poor mower man who must have hated turning up here every fortnight for that work out.  I hope he charged NDIS accordingly. 

I’m delighted to inform you that you are buying me a self-propelled mower.  I shall enjoy purchasing that shiny orange Husqvarna baby very, very much.  Thank you Doug.

Oh, and if the kids are reading, I hereby publicly give them permission to curse me when I’m gone for all the crap in the garage they will have to deal with. I apologise in advance. It will probably not ever get totally sorted. May this declaration bestow upon me complete absolution. *Winks

I watched an episode of ‘Father Brown’ with Mum the other night. You hated that show. A priest in his robes riding his push bike through a village in the English country side solving murders? Nonsense.  This from a man whose favourite show when young was ‘My favourite Martian’. A character who possessed unusual powers and retractable antennae on his head. * Insert my raised eyebrows here* Anyway, the Father Brown show upset me.

The murderer died moments after confessing to Father Brown while seated on a park bench under the shade of a beautiful old tree in picturesque surrounds. Just like that! Quipped the Father one second, eyes closed, lights out the next!  Quick. Painless. What a way to go. Killed her son because he was a nasty piece of work and knew she’d be dead from a pre-existing heart condition before any trial or prison sentence. Believed she’d done the world a favour.

I wasn’t sad because the scene itself moved me. I was upset because she got to die in that way and you didn’t.

Bizarre.

I’ve been out of sorts the last week or so Doug. Guess you can tell by the tone of my letter.  Thought I was sad but I really think I’m mad.  I’m mad you had to go through what you went through. #FCKCANCER

My days that were once punctuated by your presence now lack structure and form.

Like a sentence without grammar.

Messy.

Last Sunday I woke in the fours of the morning. Long before the birds.  Long before the mudlarks spread their wings sounding off at their reflection in the window. Long before the family of crows began squawking from the trees near the house.  I wonder if crows hate their call as much as we do?  Why on earth give a bird such a mournful sound? And such beady eyes for that matter!

I reached for you to hold my hand.  My feet, hands and forearms were paining and tingling from my nerve damage.  Chemo – the gift of life that just keeps on giving.  You knew without words.  You’d rub my arm until your own painful arms could do it no more. Love. Unconditional.  All giving.

The mountains emerged from the veil of night hours later. Heavy cloud blanketed the sky except for a clear strip silhouetting the rise and fall of the shapes against the subtle colours of the dawn.

Majestic and calming. The foothills of home. Always waiting.

I won’t be able to see the mountains soon Doug. The houses are going up like mushrooms and roof tops will become the new horizon. Yet I’m grateful for this spot we created together overlooking the ‘park to be’ giving us a sense of space to breathe.  It’s not our lovely Briag town, but it’s okay. Close to family and some lovely new friends in the Estate. Yes… grateful.

The street lights actually went out one by one. Like a countdown to the day beginning. Magpies flew gracefully perching high upon the vantage points the lights provide, surveying their territory below, chorusing in the arrival of sunrise.  Amazing how the birds are adapting to the change of urban sprawl.

Lessons from nature.

I’ve been really lucky when it comes to sleep since you’ve been gone. Sometimes it takes me an hour or more to get to sleep but then I’m usually out until day break. Not that morning. Visions of the day you ended up in Emergency with Pneumonia a week into treatment wouldn’t leave my head and settling back to sleep was out of the question.

I sat up and wrote it all out… what I could remember anyway.  Berated myself again for not keeping a daily diary. I’m frightened I’ll forget important things about those last weeks, about you, about us; words that were said, moments of meaning.  Why didn’t I keep that bloody daily diary?

In other news, the car has an oil leak, the walk-in-robe is a disgrace, I haven’t got back to finish what you started in your shed, I picked up heaps of rubbish in the park (you would have liked doing that project with me) as I couldn’t stand looking out the window at it any longer, I have successfully avoided cleaning the shower this week, Mum seems a bit brighter, friends have been calling in, still waiting to hear where I stand with Centrelink, the young magpie was hanging upside down playfully on the bird feeder and Mum and I laughed and laughed, I miss you.

I’ve been absent from my Newsletter family’s inbox these last weeks.  Many lovelies sent me beautiful heartfelt emails and left lovely comments on our last letter.  I was so touched Doug.  I know you would have been too.  Some are still awaiting replies. I seem to be better at stringing thoughts and words together today so I’ll strike while the iron is hot and write some responses.  Wish my brain would let me be more consistent.  Might have to put it in training.

I came across a meme on Facebook (yes, I was mindlessly scrolling on a mindless day) of Snoopy and Charlie Brown hugging each other joyfully and the words read “The most beautiful way to start and end a day is with a grateful heart”. Sounds easy enough.  It’s the in-between that can pose a challenge.

That’s all I’ve got for you today Doug.

Love you,

Sandra Xx

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